Tolypeutes tricinctus


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Tolypeutes tricinctus
Species Authority: (Linnaeus, 1758)
Common Name/s:
English Brazilian Three-banded Armadillo

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A2cd ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2009-12-04
Assessor/s: Superina, M. Abba, A.M.
Reviewer/s: Reis, M. & Marinho Filho, J.
Tolypeutes tricinctus is listed as Vulnerable because of a population decline - estimated to be more than 30% over the last 10-12 years - inferred from ongoing exploitation and habitat loss and degradation.
2006 Vulnerable (IUCN 2006)
2006 Vulnerable
1996 Vulnerable
1994 Endangered (Groombridge 1994)
1990 Indeterminate (IUCN 1990)
1988 Indeterminate (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1988)
1986 Indeterminate (IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre 1986)
1982 Indeterminate (Thornback and Jenkins 1982)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:T. tricinctus is endemic to Brazil, where it has been recorded from the states of Bahia, Ceará, Pernambuco, Alagoas, Sergipe, Piauí, Mato Grosso (extreme central eastern portion), Goiás (extreme north), Minas Gerais (extreme north-west), Tocantins (eastern portion), Paraíba, and Rio Grande do Norte.
Brazil (Alagoas, Bahia, Ceará, Goiás, Minas Gerais, Paraíba, Pernambuco, Piauí, Rio Grande do Norte, Sergipe, Tocantins)
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: T. tricinctus was believed to be extinct until its rediscovery in the early 1990s in a handful of scattered localities. It has probably disappeared over much of its range, but it is difficult to survey its populations (Nowak 1999). This armadillo has a patchy distribution; population densities may be relatively high within certain patches (J. Marinho-Filho pers. comm. 2010), except in areas where the species is exposed to human pressure.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: T. tricinctus mainly occurs in caatinga habitat (dry thorn scrub of north-eastern Brazil), but it is also found in the eastern parts of cerrado habitat (bush savanna in central Brazil). It is not adapted to digging and life underground. When threatened, it has the habit of rolling into an easily portable ball.  Population densities have been estimated at 0.97 individuals/km2, but are expected to be considerably lower in areas with hunting pressure.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): T. tricinctus is threatened by heavy hunting pressure and habitat loss. In the Caatinga, the remaining populations are practically isolated in protected areas and are subjected to subsistence hunting. In the Cerrado, the main populations live outside the protected areas and are especially threatened by conversion of their natural habitat to sugar cane and soybean plantations.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: T. tricinctus has been observed in Serra da Capivara and Serra das Confusões National Parks, both in southern Piaui (Marinho-Filho and Lima 2008). It is present in the Grande Sertão Veredas National Park, northern Minas Gerais (M. L. Lima pers. comm. 2010). It was also recorded in the Ecological Station of Serra Geral do Tocantins and Jalapão State Park (Tocantins), as well as in the Raso da Catarina Biological Reserve and Veredas do Oeste baiano Wildlife Refuge (Bahia; Marinho-Filho and Lima 2008, M. L. Lima pers. comm. 2010). No protected areas exist in the area of highest population density (J. Marinho-Filho pers. comm. 2010).

Bibliography [top]

Baillie, J. and Groombridge, B. (comps and eds). 1996. 1996 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

Cardoso da Silva, J. M. and Oren, D. C. 1993. Observations on the habitat and distribution of the Brazilian three-banded armadillo Tolypeutes tricinctus, a threatened Caatinga endemic. Mammalia 57(1): 149-152.

Eisenberg, J. F. and Redford, K. H. 1999. Mammals of the Neotropics: The Central Neotropics. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, USA.

Gardner, A. L. 1993. Order Xenarthra. In: D. E. Wilson and D. M. Reeder (eds), Mammal Species of the World: A taxonomic and geographic reference. Second Edition, pp. 63-68. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC, USA.

Gardner, A. L. 2005. Order Cingulata. In: D. E. Wilson and D. M. Reeder (eds), Mammal Species of the World: A taxonomic and geographic reference. Third edition., pp. 94-99. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

Groombridge, B. (ed.). 1994. 1994 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

Guimarães, M. M. 1997. Area de vida, territorialidade, e dieta do tatu-bola, Tolypeutes tricinctus (Xenarthra, Dasypodidae) num Cerrado do Brasil Central. Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade de Brasilia.

IUCN. 1990. IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

IUCN. 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2010.4). Available at: (Accessed: 27 October 2010).

IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre. 1986. 1986 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

IUCN Conservation Monitoring Centre. 1988. 1988 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, UK.

Machado, P. A. R, Santos, I. B. and Fonseca, G. A. B. da. 1992. Habitos alimentares do tatu-bola do nordeste, Tolypeutes tricinctus (Edentata, Dasypodidae). XIX Congresso Brasileiro de Zoologia: 152. Belém, Pará.

Marinho-Filho, J. and Reis, M. L. 2008. Tolypeutes tricinctus Linnaeus 1758. In: Ministério do Meio Ambiente (ed.), Livro Vermelho da Fauna Brasileira Ameaçada de Extinção, Brasilia.

Marinho-Filho, J., Guimarães, M., Reis, M. L., Rodrigues, F., Torres, O. and Almeida, G. 1997. The discovery of the Brazilian three-banded armadillo in the Cerrado of Central Brazil. Edentata 3: 11-13.

Nowak, R. M. 1999. Walker's Mammals of the World. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA and London, UK.

Reis, M. L., Bocchiglieri, A., Homes, R. M., Bragança, J., Marques, M. P., and Lobo, C. E. C. 2005. Estudo da População de tatu-bola Tolypeutes tricinctus da fazenda Jatobá/BA. III Congresso Brasileiro de Mastozoologia. Santa Cruz/ES.

Reis, M. L., Coelho, D. C., Pereira, D. F., de Carvalho, I. H., Nunes, M. L. A, Simon, M. F. and Braz, V. S. 2002. Relatório de Fauna. In: Arruda, M. B. and von Behr, M. (eds), Jalapão, Expedição Científica e Conservacionista, pp. 29-44. IBAMA, Brasília.

Sanborn, C. C. 1930. Distribution and habits of the three-banded armadillo (Tolypeutes). Journal of Mammalogy 11(1): 61-69.

Santos, I. B. 1993. Bionomia, distribuição geográfica e situação atual do tatu-bola Tolypeutes tricinctus (Linné, 1758) (Dasypodidae, Mammalia) no Nordeste do Brasil. Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais.

Santos, I. B., Fonseca, G. A. B. da, Rigueira, S. E. and Machado, R. B. 1994. The rediscovery of the Brazilian three-banded armadillo and notes on its conservation status. Edentata 1: 11-15.

Thornback, J. and Jenkins, M. 1982. The IUCN Mammal Red Data Book. Part 1: Threatened mammalian taxa of the Americas and the Australasian zoogeographic region (excluding Cetacea). IUCN, Gland, Switzerland.

Wetzel, R. M. 1982. Systematics, distribution, ecology, and conservation of South American edentates. In: M. A. Mares and H. H. Genoways (eds), Mammalian biology in South America, pp. 345-375. University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.

Wetzel, R. M. 1985. Taxonomy and distribution of armadillos, Dasypodidae. In: G. G. Montgomery (ed.), The evolution and ecology of armadillos, sloths, and vermilinguas, pp. 23-48. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC, USA.

Citation: Superina, M. Abba, A.M. 2010. Tolypeutes tricinctus. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. <>. Downloaded on 23 April 2014.
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